Publisher: Del Rey Books
Page Count: 408
Release Date: April 27th, 2021
Series: STAR WARS: THRAWN ASCENDENCY, Book 2
Rating: 3/5 Stars – Liked It
Warning: Possible light spoilers ahead for earlier books in the series. You can read reviews for those books here: THRAWN ASCENDENCY: CHAOS RISING
Senior Captain Thrawn may have won a decisive victory against a dangerous group of pirates, but that doesn’t mean the threat is over. Together with Admiral Ar’Alani and Senior Captain Lakinda, he’s been tasked with scouring the nearby systems to clear out any remaining outposts that could launch a retaliation strike. But while Thrawn traces the pirates and their allies, a threat is brewing within the Chiss Ascendency itself, stemming from a seemingly innocuous source: a simple group of nomads who have settled on a minor planet in the Ascendency. They claim to be looking for a small place for farming and trade, but their true aim could be much more deadly to the future of the Chiss.
THRAWN ASCENDENCY: GREATER GOOD continues the current trend of THRAWN books being….fine. They bank a lot on the Thrawn name to bring readers to the page, and sit in an awkward place in the STAR WARS universe. For while exploring the Chiss and their culture seems like a grand idea, it’s done rather superficially, without the deep mythos of STAR WARS to let readers fill in the gaps with their own knowledge or personal headcanons. GREATER GOOD isn’t a bad book, per se, but it is heavily plot driven without too much depth to the culture or the world building.
Once again, Thrawn is not an actual POV character, and actually remains off-screen for large swaths of the book, only to arrive on scene to save the day once more. If your hope in reading this series was to get to know more about Thrawn and see how he climbed to greatness, you won’t find that here. Instead, you’ll find a conspiracy winding its way through the Chiss Ascendency, watching it unfold through the eyes of several POV characters who all feel like secondary characters in their own story. A few make an impression: Senior Captain Lakinda, caught between duty to family and duty to the fleet, stands out, as does Haplif, the leader of the supposedly harmless nomads that arrive on a Chiss planet. But every POV switch is in service to plot, not character developments. If you’re a character-first kind of reader, you should be well-advised before diving into the current round of THRAWN books.
I enjoyed the climax as the dominos finally pushed things to the brink, but GREATER GOOD is a story only die-hard fans will get any real enjoyment out of. I will likely find time to read the trilogy conclusion later this year, but it won’t be a high priority. It’s disappointing to have such a lackluster treatment of a favorite character, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that Thrawn stories should have stayed set in the main STAR WARS universe, where much of the heavy lifting of character- and world-building has already been accomplished.